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Entries in Writer (29)

Friday
Jul142017

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with "Conversations in L.A." Emmy nominees Anne Marie Cummings & Gustavo Velasquez

Gustavo Velasquez & Ann Marie CummingsLive from The Algonquin Hotel in the heart of NYC's theatre district, "Call Me Adam" chats with Emmy nominees Anne Marie Cummings & Gustavo Velasquez about the Digital Daytime Drama Series Conversations in L.A.

Conversations in L.A. tells the story of "Michelle," a 40-something menopausal woman finding herself falling for "Gus," a hot 20-something millennial. This series defies boundaries, from the way it's filmed to how it's executed. It's a show about love, relationships, growing-up, finding yourself, menopause, & mid-life crises.

Written and directed by Anne Marie, Conversations in L.A. has earned three Emmy nominations: Lead Actress (Anne Marie Cummings), Lead Actor (Gustavo Velasquez, in his acting debut), and Supporting Actress (Vanita Harbour).

For more on Conversations in L.A. and to watch Season One visit http://conversationsinla.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on The Algonquin Hotel visit http://www.algonquinhotel.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

"Call Me Adam" video interview with Anne Marie Cummings & Gustavo Velasquez:

Friday
Jul072017

Call Answered: Paul Dooley: Movie Dad

Paul Dooley"Steven Keaton," "Mike Brady," and "Dr. Cliff Huxtable" are just some of the most famous TV dads. Paul Dooley has played "dad" to some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Molly Ringwald, Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts. He's made a career out of playing the father role and now, he's written a show all about being Hollywood's most famous Dad!

Movie Dad, brings Paul's reflections on a 60 plus-year career to the Theatre West stage in Los Angeles. Paul shares his lifelong love of comedy and Buster Keaton in this intimate evening that chronicles his journey from a small West Virginia town with interweaving elements of vaudeville, silent film, clowning and stand-up. Paul also offers audiences an insider’s look at what it was like to be part of Robert Altman’s legendary stock company.

Movie Dad will play Theatre West (3333 Cahuenga Blvd West, Los Angeles CA) through July 23. Click here for tickets!

Dennis Christopher and Paul Dooley in "Breaking Away"1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Believe it or not, the first person to inspire me to become a performer was the silent movie star Buster Keaton. Many people think of him as someone who falls down, does a lot of physical comedy—but the truth is, he’s a wonderful actor and I still love him. This is all in my show, including the interesting story of how I finally met him.

2. Your big break came, after 25 years in the business when you starred in Breaking Away and you became an overnight success. What was it like to all of sudden be the toast of the town after working for so long in it? I read five pages of the BREAKING AWAY screenplay, I thought the writing was fabulous, and I knew instantly that the character was just like my own Dad. So I played it just like him. And have played Dads like him ever since. Receiving recognition for a role that meant so much to me personally was incredibly fulfilling.

3. You are well known for playing the "Dad" role to some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Molly Ringwald, Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts. As you started to get cast in these kinds of roles, did it ever bother you that these are the roles you were getting or were you just so happy to be making it, you felt, if this is how I'm meant to do it, I'll take it? Playing Dads is never a problem for me. I am a Dad—I have children of my own. Playing a Dad comes naturally to me.

4. You've played so many dad roles that now you created a one-man show about it called Movie Dad which will be in LA this July. What made you decide to write a show about your time as one of Hollywood's most famous "Dads"? Many people over the years have said to me: Why don’t you write a book? I always said—if I wrote a book, and folks read it and laughed, I’d never hear the laughter. So I decided to put my story on stage.

5. In putting this show together, what did you learn about yourself and your journey in Hollywood? I learned I was way too old to memorize 90 pages of a show.

Paul Dooley and Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride"6. While writing Movie Dad, what part made you laugh out loud with good memories and what part got you all choked up because it was just such a rough time for you? Many parts of the show brought back fond memories of funny things that happened to me and to family and friends of mine—there are also dramatic moments that were tough to relive—but you have to come see the show to know more—

7. Prior to making it in Hollywood, you had a wide variety of jobs from working as a clown, entertaining kids at birthday parties with magic, juggling, and cartooning skills. During this time, did you ever consider giving up your dream of acting or did these gigs give you the drive to keep going? I only thought about quitting every single day. But as time went on, each new job encouraged me to keep trying. Also I didn’t have any other talent!

Paul Dooley as a magician8. In addition to film, you have had quite a stage career from understudying the original "Felix" in Broadway's The Odd Couple, opposite Walter Mattau and The Three Penny Opera alongside Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) and Bea Arthur (Maude, The Golden Girls). Can you tell us one story about your time in each of these shows? I understudied Art Carney who was the original "Felix." Eventually I took over the role and played it opposite Walter Matthau. It was incredible to watch Neil Simon the writer and Mike Nichols the director craft this play together. Once during a performance Art Carney accidentally dropped a tray full of food and drinks onto the floor. Immediately all the actors jumped up to help pick it all up. Carney ad-libbed: "Leave it. The cat will get it." The biggest thrill doing THREE PENNY OPERA was listening to the great Lotte Lenya, Kurt Weill’s widow, sing "The Black Freighter." It was mesmerizing.

9. You were also the co-creator & head writer for the Emmy award winning PBS children's show The Electric Company (one of my favorites!). What made you want to create an entertaining/educational show specifically for children? If you can even choose one, what was your favorite segment to write? I personally loved Spidey Super Stories. The people at the Children’s Television Workshop actually chose me. I was recommended by Carl Reiner. My favorite characters that I created for the Electric Company were: Easy Reader (played by Morgan Freeman) Julia Grownup, Child Chef, and the word detective Fargo North—Decoder.

Paul Dooley and his wife Winnie Holzman10. You are married to Winnie Holzman, who created the series My So Called Life and wrote the book to Broadway's Wicked. With both of you being so successful, how do you balance work and marriage as well as fatherhood? We’ve been incredibly lucky—when one of us was busy, the other was often free. And Vice versa. So with our daughter Savannah, there was usually one of us who able to spend time with her. Either way, my relationship with Winnie has worked out perfectly!

11. In looking back over your career, what are you most proud of? What are you most ashamed of? What do you wish you did differently, if anything? Every triumph, and every failure—has contributed to the whole and I learned from all of it. So I would do it all again.

12. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Becoming kinder to everyone. Being generous and understanding. And making every joke I think of just one percent funnier.

Paul DooleyMore on Paul:

1977 was a big year for actor Paul Dooley. That’s when he was "discovered," and after twenty-five years in show business, became an "overnight success." 

It all happened when legendary film director Robert Altman caught him on stage in the Jules Feiffer comedy Hold Me. Altman, who had achieved fame with Mash and Nashville, signed Dooley on the spot to play Carol Burnett’s husband, and the father of the bride, in his upcoming film, A Wedding. After another starring role in Altman’s A Perfect Couple, Paul landed the part that would change his life forever, in the unforgettable coming-of-age classic Breaking Away.

His hilarious portrayal of the long-suffering Dad earned him critical acclaim, and set the stage for another triumph, in the beloved John Hughes comedy, Sixteen Candles. As Molly Ringwald’s distracted yet sympathetic father, Paul endeared himself to an entire generation of young people. 

Since then, he’s played the father of some of our finest actresses, including Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts (Runaway Bride). In addition to being Hollywood’s favorite Dad, Paul has become one of the busiest actors working today; creating one memorable character after another in such films as Popeye, with Robin Williams, where he appeared as the hamburger-loving "Wimpy," a part Dooley says, that he played with relish. Other films include Paternity, with Burt Reynolds, Kiss Me Goodbye, opposite Sally Field and Jeff Bridges, Happy Texas, with William H. Macy, Insomnia, with Al Pacino, and Waiting For Guffman and A Mighty Wind, both with Christopher Guest.

Paul has received two Emmy nominations for his work on the small screen: as the out-of-the-closet father on HBO’s Dream On and a memorable feisty judge on The Practice. He starred in his own TV sitcom, Coming of Age (CBS), which kicked off a series of recurring roles on other TV shows, including ER, Grace Under Fire, My So-Called Life, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Once and Again and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Despite appearances, it didn’t happen overnight. Upon graduation from West Virginia University, Paul headed for New York City in a broken-down 1948 Dodge, with just fifty dollars in his pocket, and nothing to lose. To pay the rent, he worked as a clown, entertaining kids at birthday parties with his magic, juggling, and cartooning skills. Luckily, one of his college chums was none other than Don Knotts. Already a working actor, Knotts convinced the producers of a new children’s TV show that Paul would be perfect as a comic cowboy.

Next came the New York premiere of Kurt Weill’s masterpiece, The Threepenny Opera, a job procured for him by another friend, John Astin, who was appearing in it, along with Charlotte Rae and Beatrice Arthur.

Paul's love of comedy led him to develop an act as a stand-up comic, and after several years of playing nightclubs, he landed on The Tonight Show. From there he joined Second City, the famous improvisational troupe, where his fellow actors included: Alan Arkin, Alan Alda…and several other Alans. Improvising became Paul’s passion: "I love the freedom of it. I can be doing a Shakespeare parody one minute and playing a five year old kid the next. I make my living doing movies and television, but improve I do for my soul."

While at Second City, he met director Mike Nichols, who was about to being the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple to California. Paul was cast as one of the poker playing buddies, and received kudos when he replaced Art Carney as "Felix," playing opposite Walter Matthau.

The Second City actors were suddenly in great demand on Madison Avenue, their improvisational wit beginning to change the face of commercials. Teaming up with fellow writer-performers Andrew Duncan and Lynne Lipton, he formed a company: All Over Creation, and over the next ten years, Paul appeared in over five hundred TV commercials, and nearly a thousand radio spots.

Eventually deciding to use his comedic talents "for good, instead of evil," Paul became the co-creator and head writer of The Electric Company, the Emmy award-winning children’s program on PBS. Throughout all this, Paul continued to perform onstage in New York, including his much lauded portrayal of Casey Stengel, in a one-man show about the life of the eccentric baseball coach.

Paul shares his home in Los Angeles, as well as his computer, with his wife, Winnie Holzman, also a writer: "My wife is very talented. She created a wonderful television series, the highly acclaimed, My So-Called Life, and the Broadway musical Wicked." In 2013, they co-wrote and produced Assisted Living, a touching and funny play that premiered in Los Angeles.

Last year, Paul created and starred in a one-man show, Upright and Personal, about his 60 years in show business. It ran for several months at Theatre West in Los Angeles and was such a success that he decided to bring it back for a second year this July.

Paul has four children: Robin, Adam, Peter, and Savannah; and is the proud grandfather of three. "Looks like this father thing is working out," he says with a smile.

Friday
Jun302017

Call Answered: Marc Jordan Cohen: Daddy Issues, a web series

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Allan MaldonadoAs a spin instructor Marc Jordan Cohen inspires me. I have been taking Marc's class at CYC Fitness on and off for several months and I can guarantee you, not only has he helped me get in shape, he has left with lots of food for thought. When I found out Marc was writing, producing, and starring in his own web series, Daddy Issues, I immediately said to him, we must do an interview to promote this!

Daddy Issues is a web series about three friends who start an escort business. It's a show about resilience, love, family, and learning to accept yourself and those around you for who they are. It's about relationships, connection, and finding hope within each other.

I saw the pilot episode and could not be more passionate about a new project. Daddy Issues is sure to be a great series. After the first episode, I wrote Marc and told him how I wanted more! Marc was already one step ahead of me. He put together this great Kickstarter campaign to get the rest of Season 1 made! So, let's help Marc continue to make his dreams come true and allow me to watch more episodes! Donate to Daddy Issues' Kickstarter here!

For more on Marc be sure to visit http://www.marcjordancohen.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/writer? I’ve been performing since I was seven years old. I wouldn’t say anyone inspired me because it was something that I had to do. We had a family friend growing up that owned a community theatre, and they were looking for boys for a production of The Princess and the Pea. My dad took me to watch a rehearsal and I knew immediately that I wanted to be on that stage. Ever since that show I knew this was what I was put on this earth to do. As a writer, my mother is my daily inspiration. She is a painter but with metaphors, alliteration and memories. She’s currently working on her own memoir and we often bounce ideas off each other and she is my main editor and critic.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti2. You are developing a web series called Daddy Issues, with each episode being about 10 minutes in length. Why did you want to make your own web series? What do you like about this short format episode? After graduating NYU, I needed to take a break from the theatre world and figure out what I wanted. I went on a few auditions after the summer ended, but I felt unfulfilled. I felt stuck because I don’t have representation and I wasn’t excited about any auditions. So I started writing as my secondary creative outlet. I’ve always been told I should create my own content and I wasn’t going to wait for someone to hand me a job, so I made my own. Daddy Issues is simply what was born out of free writes and my childhood experience.

With the need for instant gratification and the short attention span of my generation, I believe that this short format or web content is the best and most pleasing way to digest entertainment. I mean, look at Vine and Youtube–people would rather watch 6 second to 3 minute videos than an hour drama. Even with Netflix, people are eager to binge and be done with a show as fast as possible.

3. To create a 10 minute episode, how many hours of filming does that come out to? How hard is it to cut those hours into 10 minute episodes? Has there been a scene you really wanted in an episode, but because of time constraints, you just were able to get it in there? It’s crazy to think that one 10 minute episode, at least this first one, was filmed over five days totaling roughly 12-14 hours. I didn’t have to cut anything for time constraint (yet) because I write the scripts to be around 10 pages in screenplay format which comes out to be exactly the length I want it to be.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti4. After watching the pilot episode, I love the complexity of the series, the multi-layer story lines. You did a great job of setting up the characters and their starting points for this series. The end of the pilot episode, definitely left me wanting more. What made you want to create this show? Why did  you title it Daddy Issues? Thank you. That was the goal! Each episode following, especially the first three, leave you with a bit of a twist or question mark over your head. Originally, it was very autobiographical and too personal. It was more of a therapeutic experience for me, and it still is, but I added the plot of an escort business as a layer to remove my life from the show. I titled it Daddy Issues because it immediately has people asking the question, "What is THAT about?" and it’s also the connection that unites "Matt," "Destiny" and "Danny." I wanted to create something that resonated with everyone. We all have daddy issues, as I like to say. But, I also wanted to write something LGBTQ+ focused that doesn’t center on sexuality being a problem. So many shows have the "gay best friend" trope, or the designated "sassy black friend." Gender, race, sexuality, etc. isn’t the focus. Ultimately, this show is about people discovering who they are by connecting to each other and learning from one another.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti5. You will be releasing the first episode of Daddy's Issues on Father's Day. Then you will be doing a crowd-funding campaign to film the rest of the season. Why are you choosing to go the crowd-funding route to make this series? How do you feel the crowd-funding will make the series more special as opposed to seeking out private donations? First off, I’m nervous to be asking anyone to back this project. There’s always that little voice telling you you’re not good enough, that people won’t like what you’re doing, etc. but we all have that voice. So, I had to silence it and just go with my gut. I believe we all can relate to this show in one way or another, and I want everyone to feel a part of this project. Having it funded by people who truly want to see it come to fruition will keep the passion in my passion project. If I just had someone throw money at it, it could possibly be blown up to a mainstream level that: 1. I’m not big enough for and 2. could lose creative license to. It’s also uplifting and validating to see people engage with the series before it exists and to see their excitement of what's to come.

6. Let's play with the title of the show for a bit. What are some of your "Daddy Issues" from childhood, but now as an adult, you were able to resolve? Well, not to go too into it, but they’re definitely addressed in the show. I wasn’t always close with my dad. We didn’t understand each other growing up and I think it had to do in part with me being uncomfortable and confused with my sexuality. But, as I grew up and learned to love myself, I’ve become closer with him and realized there are just some things he won’t ever be able to understand about me, as a gay man. He’s never been marginalized his entire life, as a white cis heterosexual privileged male. I’m not sure I’ve been able to "resolve" the issues I have, but this show is one way I continue to work through them. My awareness of my "issues" are more important than the actual solving of them I believe, otherwise my job as a creative human would be complete, right?

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti7. In the first episode, your character seems to be joining the world of escorts. If you were to bring this into reality, in what instance do you think you would sell your body or soul to someone else? Oh wow. Well, personally I’m not sure I would ever physically sell myself. Luckily I’ve never had to contemplate it. I do know people that have had to, and I respect them so much for their shamelessness, strength and tenacity to survive by whatever means necessary. I don’t think I would ever sell my soul because it’s too sacred, and I’d rather struggle for my goals. However, if Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to pay me, I wouldn’t complain.

8. At the end of the pilot I get the feeling some kind of deal is being made, though I don't know what the deal is in the show because so far there is just the pilot episode. If you were to make a deal with the devil, what kind of deal would you make? Jake Gyllenhaal’s hand in marriage. Kidding aside, I’d probably make a deal to always find happiness everywhere I go even through the most painful parts in my life. I know that doesn’t sound like something the devil would provide, but truly all I could ever ask for is to find positivity and hope daily, through all the stress and anxiety of life, I’d take the deal, whatever it costs.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Alisha Siegel9. There is a great quote during the premiere episode you say at the end of your spin class (which I think you've actually said in your classes). You say, "All great changes are preceded by chaos." What change or changes in your life were first preceded by chaos? One of my favorite Deepak Chopra quotes. I feel like I’m in the chaos right now. It’s partially why I included that quote in the pilot as a reminder to myself to keep pushing through. I'm doing all of this on my own–writing, acting, directing, marketing, scheduling (with some help from a few generous friends), but it feels like a tornado. So, I’m trying to stay focused, meditate and repeat that mantra to myself.

10. In addition to being an actor/writer, you are also a spin instructor. How do you feel acting/writing has influenced your style of instruction and then how does being a spin instructor help your acting/writing? A very interesting question! At the source of my being, I’m a performer. When I’m teaching at Cyc, I’m center stage of the Richard Rodgers theater giving my best performance sometimes 12 times a week. I think the most important thing that they lend to each other is that the show must go on, I must write, I must act, I must fake it till I make it. Even when I don’t feel like teaching, or I’m having a shitty day, I remind myself at least one person is depending on me, or needs me to better their day. I’d say writing and acting is what influences my teaching style because it is self reflective and for my own well being. That’s something I always make sure my riders know–that this is their time, their workout, and to find the joy and excitement rather than punish themselves or do it for anyone else. The most important relationship you have is the on with yourself and as Mama Ru says, "If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else?"

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? My patience. Like I said before, my generation is all about instant gratification and I’m always trying to get to the end result, but I need to be better at living in the moment, working through the struggle, and bettering myself one step at a time. I find I am happier when I focus on the one task in front of me rather than inducing myself with the stress of what’s going to happen 3 months from now.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Brian BriganttiMore on Marc:

Marc Jordan Cohen recently graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway with a BFA in Drama. He’s been performing since he was seven years old and has always known his purpose was to lead a creative life and connect with other people. From the serene shores of Newport Beach, California, Marc always strived for the fast pace of New York City his entire life. There’s an energy fueled by the determination of the city’s people that lend him to feel more motivated and excited to create. Currently Marc can be found performing on a different kind of stage instructing indoor cycling at Cyc Fitness. When he’s not on the bike, he’s writing, creating, and planning what’s next. Right now, it’s his new web series Daddy Issues. He hopes to one day marry–I mean, work alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.

Monday
Apr172017

Call Answered: Tom Malloy: "Fair Haven" and "Midtown"

Tom Malloy, Photo Credit: Birdie ThompsonIt's always exciting when an interview I did with one person leads to an interview with another. It was because of my interview with Fair Haven filmmaker Kerstin Karlhuber, that I found my way to actor/writer/producer Tom Malloy, who produced and co-starred in the film.

It was great getting to learn more about Fair Haven from Tom (a film about a young man who returns to his family farm, after a long stay in ex-gay conversion therapy, and is torn between the expectations of his emotionally distant father, and the memories of a past, loving relationship he has tried to bury) as well as all the intricacies of his career including the other films/TV shows he has produced/starred in, including the Amazon comedy series Midtown (co-created with his friend stand-up comedian Scott Baker) about the banter that happens between cops.

For more on Tom be sure to visit http://tommalloy.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

1. After my interview with Kerstin Karlhuber, I am so excited to have the chance to speak with you! So, let's start with Fair Haven, which you produced and co-star in. What attracted you to this story? Why did you want to produce the film & co-star in the film, as opposed to just one or the other? What were some of the challenges of being both producer and actor? From the moment I read it, I thought the quality of the screenplay was top-notch. I was attracted to the project because it was such a sweet story, a story of a father and his son, and, at the end of the day, was all about love.

Kerstin asked me to produce, and she wanted to shoot it in Vermont. I initially turned it down because I didn’t have the bandwidth to get away and didn’t want to be away from my kids for too long. But then I called her back and asked if she’d be able to shoot in Rochester, NY, where I have a lot of family, and the rest is history.

As for producing, almost all of the projects I’m involved in have me as an actor somewhere. I believe, in 14 films, I’ve only not played a role twice. Acting is still my greatest passion. On set, with a film like this, since I was the sole producer, I only took a small role, a day-player type role. I believe I shot for 2-3 days. That’s the only way to do both. In the films (like Love N’ Dancing or The Alphabet Killer), where I was the lead role, I was lucky enough to have other producers involved who were able to cover for me!

2. In addition to Fair Haven, you also star in and co-write/produce the comedy series Midtown on Amazon, which is the brainchild of you and former NYPD Cop/current stand-up comedian Scott Baker...about the banter that happens between cops. First of all, how did you and Scott come to know each other and how soon after did you go, we should create this show? What do you love about working with Scott? Do you have any real life cop stories you can share with us? Scott and I met on the set of the movie Anger Management, with Adam Sandler. We were both playing NY Yankees in that movie, no lines. He and I hit it off right away, and the banter you see on Midtown is the exact banter between us in real life! We just play off each other so well, which is why I love working with him.

My favorite times are when I throw something out comedy-wise, and he picks up on it and throws it back to me. That’s when I know we’re in total comedy synergy on stage or in the show…which is completely improvised.

As for real-life cop stories, Scott wrote the book The Funniest Cop Stories Ever, which were true stories of the NYPD, so he’d be a better one to ask!

3. Who or what inspired you to become an actor, writer, producer? I remember when I first came up with that concept, around 2004. I told my agent at the time that I was going to be an actor/writer/producer, and she told me I was foolish to not focus on one of them. I claim that the same agent today is telling her actors: "You need to be all three." So much has changed with the business, and I have so many actor friends out of work or taking jobs in other industries because they can only do one thing. Being a "triple-hyphenate" has allowed me to not work anywhere outside the business and thrive! Plus, intrinsically, I’m an action-oriented person, so sitting around was never an option. I always just wanted to create my own projects.

4. Another film you starred in is Hero of the Underworld, where you play the overnight manager of an upscale hotel who takes it upon himself to become the savior of a guest who's been nearly beaten to death by her boyfriend. There is a line I love in the trailer that says "Every man gets a chance to be a hero or a coward." When in your life have you been the hero and when have you been a coward? Yes, I love that movie and it was based on true events. But good question about hero/coward. I’ve played the hero many times, I believe…broken up fights, helped people on the street, etc.  As for coward, I can’t think of the last time where I really felt that way. I try to live my life with the "no should’ves" rule. I never want to walk away and think "I should have done that," or "I should have said that." Not to say that I don’t get scared! I have tons of fear, but I just NEVER let it stop me. That’s a key to success right there…never let fear get in the way. Accept the fear and just do it anyway!

Tom Malloy5. You are also starring in the upcoming series Dropping The Soap with Jane Lynch, which is a behind-the-scenes look at a failing soap opera. With all the shows and films you've been in, what is the juiciest behind-the-scenes story you can tell us from a project you just knew was not going to do well? Such a great show, so ridiculously funny! I’m so proud of the show. I knew from the moment I watched it that it was going to be a hit. As for juicy stories, those would have to be after the premiere because my distribution company (Glass House Distribution) acquired the series after it was finished.

6. Let's just play with the show's title for a moment...If you were to "Drop the soap," what would you hope to find after you picked it up? Hopefully not a naked guy behind me in a prison shower. I think that’s where that expression came from!

7. You got to work with one of my idols...Betty White! What was that experience like? What did you learn from her? That was the highlight of my career so far!. She was so incredible…everyone on set immediately wanted her to be their grandma! 

As for learning something, it was just great to watch her have fun! A lot of times actors take life too seriously, and she was having fun with her lines and that was so great to watch. So I guess the lesson there is to have fun with your performance, and the audience has fun with you.

Jack Black & Tom Malloy at the Renal Support Network annual Charity Poker and Bingo Tournament8. When you are not acting, you enjoy playing Celebrity Poker Tournaments and participating in the West Coast Swing Dancing competitions. In poker, the highest win is a Royal Flush. What, in your career thus far, would you consider to be a Royal Flush? And when was a time you were like, "I fold"? Yes, I LOVE poker. A Royal Flush in my career would be the first day we started shooting Love N’ Dancing. That movie was a nightmare to get going, and it was such an accomplishment to actually make it happen. I’m still hurting that it didn’t become a major hit, and I’m developing a new dance film/romantic comedy that I hope to produce and star in this year.

As for, "I fold," that would have to be the time I had all this money from Beijing to shoot three movies and the people funding it just disappeared. I was in the middle of shooting a film, and, though I was able to finish it, the money was gone. I had to shut down production offices and let people go…a nightmare!

9. What do you feel the rhythm of dancing has taught you about the rhythm of life? Again, I think the intrinsic lesson is to have fun. Your body stores so much of your emotion, and expressing emotions through movement is a fantastic feeling.

10. As an actor who has be interviewed time and time again, what is one question I didn't ask that you wish I had (and please provide the answer to that question)? Q: What’s an important lesson you teach your kids?

A: Never grow up. Always have the innocence and wonder and joy and laughter of life to keep you going. People who "grow up" are just beat down from society and negative reinforcement, and imposed "rules." I’m still a kid and will never change that.

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? My goal is to start drilling down my focus as specific as possible. Sometimes I get spread too thin, and I have to keep telling myself not to say yes to everything coming at me because then I won’t be able to truly be 100%. So I’m going to focus more and more everyday!

Tom MalloyMore on Tom:

An award winning and critically acclaimed actor, Tom wowed Hollywood with his stunning turn in the indie-cult favorite GRAVESEND in 1998, which was produced by Oliver Stone.

Most recent films include: SCREAMERS (Coming Fall 2017), HERO OF THE UNDERWORLD (on VOD everywhere) directed by John Vincent, starring Tom, Nicole Fox, and Quinton Aaron (for this film, Tom won BEST ACTOR at the Chain NYC Film Festival, and BEST ACTOR at AC Cinefest, FAIR HAVEN (Coming to SHOWTIME Summer 2017) directed by Kerstin Karlhuber, starring Tom Wopat and Michael Grant, ASHLEY, directed by Dean Ronalds, which was in theaters in 2013, and is now on VOD, LOVE N’ DANCING, which was directed by Rob Iscove (She’s All That), and stars Amy Smart, Tom Malloy, Billy Zane, Rachel Dratch, and Betty White; the psychological thriller THE ALPHABET KILLER, directed by Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn, Crime & Punishment in Suburbia) and stars Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Tom Malloy, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside, and Oscar Winner Melissa Leo; and a thriller directed by Mary Lambert called THE ATTIC, starring John Savage, Malloy, and Elisabeth Moss.

Tom is currently starring with Comedian Scott Baker in the improv cop comedy MIDTOWN, which can be seen on Amazon, now in it's second season.

Tom is a graduate of the famous Improv Olympic (IO) Training Center in Los Angeles (former graduates include Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carrell). Tom has also appeared in principle roles on LAW & ORDER, THIRD WATCH, KIDNAPPED, THE SIEGE (with Denzel Washington) and ANGER MANAGEMENT. As a Stand Up Comic, Tom has appeared at Caroline's Comedy Club and the Broadway Comedy Club in NYC, and at the LA Improv.

In addition to his work as an actor, Tom is an accomplished author whose book BANKROLL: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films is considered the "gold standard" of indie film financing instruction. A second edition came out in 2012.

Tom has also competed and taught classes in the smooth, hip-hop dance style known as West Coast Swing. He was trained by seven time U.S. Open Champion Robert Royston.

Tom has trained for years in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, first training with Royce Gracie back in 1992, prior the UFC even existing! He currently trains in Beverly Hills with the legendary Rigan Machado. He is also a professional poker player, and for over a year was one of the highest ranked celebrity players on the now defunct MegaFrame Casino.

Finally, Tom worked for 10 years as a nationally known motivational speaker for adults and kids. He traveled across the country spreading his positive message to students of all ages. Over the years, he has spoken to more than 100,000 students.

Tuesday
Apr042017

Call Answered: Adrienne Truscott: THIS at New York Live Arts

Adrienne Truscott, Photo Credit: Richard HardcastleIt's taken me almost two years to make this interview with Adrienne Truscott happen, but I am beyond thrilled to finally have the chance to sit down with her. Adrienne first came on my radar with her one-woman show Asking For It, a show about the rules and rhetoric about rape, comedy and the awkward laughs in between. When I first heard about this show, I, like most people, didn't know what to make of it, so I pushed it off. Well, after seeing it come back around a few more times, I decided to open my mind and go see it. It was one of the best evenings I had ever attended. Adrienne had found a way to bring some humor and laughs to a very tough subject. I left that evening having the upmost respect for Adrienne, her comedy style, and braveness in tackling a subject such as rape.

So when I heard that Adrienne was developing a new show, you bet my ears perked up and I jumped at the chance to interview her. Adrienne's new show THIS is a solo performance which may not always be a solo, created specifically for Live Arts stage. THIS is a small or large or medium act of artistic survivalism and an ever-evolving work that writes, in real time, the libretto of the performance the artist is attempting to do which changes with each performance to reflect the new context brought by the performance at hand. THIS is a run-on sentence. THIS is a grift. THIS is a piece of cake.

THIS will be performed at New York Live Arts (219 West 19th Street) from April 5-8 at 7:30pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Adrienne be sure to visit http://www.adriennetruscott.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Adrienne Truscott, Photo Credit: Carmine Covelli1. It's so great to finally get to interview you after seeing your show Asking For It. It was so good and I hope it comes back around again. But, we're here to talk about your new show THIS. THIS is an ever-evolving work that writes, in real time, changing with each performance. What made you want to have a show that changes with every performance as opposed to Asking For It, which had a more firm script? Well, it was actually that I was focusing on writing stuff that seemed more appropriate for the page than the stage, but I wanted to find out more about what I was writing, so I just gave myself the rule that since I had started this new writing focus, anytime I was asked to do something, I'd do this new written material - that was still developing - wherever I was asked to see how it behaved in different contexts or venues. To date, I've done it as a seven-minute spot in a performance series, as an hour-long "cabaret" show behind a piano (I don't play piano), as a sort of diplomatic artist's address at the Australian Consulate. So it sort of takes the shape of it's container, and it is sort of always in process. So now, at NYLA, it has to figure out how to behave in a big performance space which comes with a whole other set of institutional expectations, audience tropes, etc. Really, it's just me writing a book, but putting that process on stage or something.

2. What challenges does this style of show present for you? What freedoms does it give you? It allows me to play around with form and context, which is really what I'm interested in. And the writing is a lot about the slipperiness between fact and fiction, time and presence - from a vantage point of memory and competing narratives, attention, and other things. I find my memory of things and time are quite challenged from moving around a lot, some childhood dramas and traumas, etc. And I've only recently begun remembering lots of things. I've been finding that writing clarifies memories and sometimes is the key act that helps excavate them. I think the same is true of performance - it educates you about yourself - even when the work isn't autobiographical or if it's really abstract. That can be a bit beautiful and also a little scary. But I have the freedom to choose what writing is included as I continue to write - because the piece is more about form, content, structure and attention. It's also been interesting processing the difference between events you are certain have happened and events that just have vague memories or details attached to them in the current political climate of "fake facts." Plus, it's just been really hard for me to focus on artistic stuff because I sort of at the moment, just wish I was a lawyer or a journalist!

Adrienne Truscott, Photo Credit: Ian Douglas, Courtesy Movement Research3. You just came back from performing THIS in Australia. What did you learn from doing these shows that will enhance your upcoming NYLA run? I think the main thing I'm learning is how to make writing that was meant more to be read work on stage. And how much - as a theater piece instead - I can use the craft of theater and performance to assist in that, and play around with what's real or not, "true" or not, present or past. In Australia we did the piece in a tiny funny little makeshift "theater" - a room with a "stage" and two lights at a festival with 15 minutes to bump in. NYLA is a huge huge space - not a space I would originally choose to do a solo in, but that's how this particular project worked out timing-wise and stuff. So I was also trying to learn about how a sort of intimate personal piece would work in a huge space for NY audiences during a time of insanely preoccupying political upheaval by doing it in a tiny room in a pop-up venue in the basement of an abandoned postal building for gregarious Australians! What I learned is to let the piece adjust itself to the context. Thankfully, I am working (for the first time) with an amazing director called Ellie Heyman, and she has been helping it have a shape and structure. It's ironic to be an artist in NYC and find yourself with "too much" space.

4. In Asking For It, you had a lot of audience interaction and in THIS, is sounds like you will have a similar interaction if not more with the audience. Hmmm, I actually think I'll have less interaction with the audience in THIS. It's not confrontational like Asking For It, and although there is stand-up in it, it sort of understands itself as a piece for a proscenium stage and fixed audience. But usually I do like to fuck around with the audience. I learned it more from street performing and bringing people up onstage in that context - it's a really strong trope in street performing. I guess I love that the audience is always included in a live show, even if they are just sitting. I saw a Relaxed Performance recently (a performance where people who have all sorts of  behavior "along the spectrum" if you will, are encouraged to attend without feeling like they have to keep their physical or vocal behavior within the norms of most audience behavior), and it was brilliant. I've been pretty obsessed ever since with how traditional audiences behave. There are different implied contracts between the performer and audience in different contexts - i.e., at a comedy club people feel free to react vocally and directly, interrupting and heckling, where as at a "performance venue" the audience has sort of tacitly agreed to only about five responses: silence, laughter, crying, that person who inevitably thoughtfully goes, "Mmmm!"

Thankfully, I have been able to figure out a comeback while onstage. With Asking For It I feel so aware of the audiences tensions and weird feelings and so in control of that show. I've always understood exactly who I am and what to do onstage in that show. Also, when you're up there you sort of go in to survival mode, I think fight or flight type mechanisms kick in. I think I'm good in general in those situations.

Adrienne Truscott, Photo Credit: Carmine Covelli5. The description for THIS, ends with these three sentences: THIS is a run-on sentence. THIS is a gift. THIS is a piece of cake. So, for the next few questions, let's play with each of these. First, "THIS is a run-on sentence." What is something in your life you feel is like a run-on sentence? How my brain works a lot of the time. I've been told that as I start talking about one thing, I start putting it in context and relating it to other things, so I think the analytical part of my brain synthesizes lots of things at once in a slippery kind of way. The writing in THIS has a sort of "run-on sentence"/stream of consciousness aspect to it. Ohmygosh! I love your questions. I'm so glad you didn't just ask me if "I think you can make jokes about rape and why I do it with no pants on!" Which I've answered a thousand times!

6. Next we have, "THIS is a gift." What has been the best gift you have ever received? Oops! I have to correct you on that one, because the copy actually says "THIS is a grift." Which for me was sort of about if this performance, or any performance is a swindle or not. Or a game with the audience's expectations. Sometimes I think living as an independent artist, and the survival strategies you learn falls just on the "right" side of being a petty criminal! A grifter.

That said, I have been given many gifts in my life. The most recent favorites both have to do with art: an amazing grant; a life-size cardboard grand piano.

Adrienne Truscott, Photo Credit: Carmine Covelli7a. Lastly, "THIS is a piece of cake." I'm going to break this into two questions. First, what is something you find so easy to do? I guess one is to work on a lot of different art projects at once.I don't know if that's easy or just survival methods and the result of life as a freelance artist/performer. Also, solve problems.

7b. Second, what is your favorite kind of cake to eat? Hmmm, chocolate cake. Pure chocolate - meaning, I don't like when people fuck around with chocolate cake and put raspberries or something in it.

8. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian/writer/performer? Oh geez. I always loved comedy when I was little. Like, I would nearly die to watch Carol Burnett or Sonny and Cher (especially when Chastity would come out!) That REALLY dates me. And I cried after seeing Singin' In The Rain, because I realized I'd been born too late for that sort of thing (even though I was terrified of singing). But that was the kind of thing I always imagined doing, so it's funny to have instead become a frequently naked comic performance artist weirdo!

Adrienne Truscott, "Asking For It", Photo Credit: Sara Brown Photography9. I know I tried to focus on the new, but I can't do this interview without asking you one burning question I had when you were doing Asking For It. While the premise of that show was about rape and the title is a reflection of that, I'm going to take the title in a different direction. What is something that you are "asking for," still hoping to come true? I think about that a lot now that that phrase is such a part of my life. I think the thing that sticks with me is the power of that phrase meant literally, not as that bullshit excuse for someone else's violent behavior. I did a kickstarter to help me tour that show and it was a strange feeling for me to ask for money from other people to do something that was really important to me, and then I got it. And all this amazing support, and I thought. Wow, I just very simply and clearly asked for something I needed and I got it. So now, I try to think about that, when or if I am asking for something, versus hoping for something, and to be empowered by the notion of just asking for something and seeing if it comes back. It won't always, obviously, but. Right now, I would ask for a little more time to rest and recuperate between projects. But I think that's just something I have to ask of myself!

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Water intake.

Adrienne Truscott, Photo Credit: Allison Michael OrensteinMore on Adrienne:

For more than 15 years, Adrienne Truscott—choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer, and as of late, comedian—has been making genre-straddling work in New York City and abroad. She is one of 20 artists selected nationally as recipients for the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award. Her evening-length solo comedic work and group choreographic works have been presented variously at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs, Darwin Festival, PS122, Joe’s Pub, The Kitchen, Dublin Fringe, Danspace, and Dance Theater Workshop among others.

The Wau Wau Sisters, her neo-vaudevillian collaboration with Tanya Gagne, have been presented by such iconic venues as the Sydney Opera House (Aus), Joe’s Pub and CBGB’s (NYC), Victoria Arts Center (Melbourne) and The Roundhouse (London). The Wau Wausisters are fixtures at among others, the Edinburgh, Melbourne, Brighton, Adelaide, Perth and Philadelphia Fringe Festivals and are seen regularly in the international sensations La Soiree and La Clique. Their contemporaries broadly recognize the influence of their radical and ludicrous take on circus and cabaret.

Adrienne has taught at Wesleyan University Dance Department as a visiting artist, and guest taught at Sarah Lawrence College’s Theater and Dance Departments and Yale Universtiy.